Welcome to today’s Morning Brief. The Morning Brief newsletter is only available to INESC staff and affiliated researchers upon subscription (weekly or daily), after creating an account in the Private Area of the HUB website. To do so, click the log-in icon on the top-right corner of this website.

Happy Monday! In this Morning Brief, we start with a new episode of “The Insider” from our Deep Tech Series with Inês de Vega from IQM Quantum Computers, a reassuring article on the importance of Open Science, a piece on innovation agencies, a new job opening in the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre and a brief recap of the One Ocean Summit, and more.

Any comments or suggestions, hit me up with an email on teresa.carvalho@inesc.pt.

In today's Morning Brief:

In today’s Morning Brief:

“The Insider” – new episode featuring Inês de Vega (IQM) on quantum

The newest episode in our Deep Tech series features Inês de Vega, Head of Quantum Innovations at IQM Quantum Computers. This is also the second episode of the third part of the Deep Tech series of podcasts produced by the HUB in partnership with Science|Business! This part is completely dedicated about the relationship between Deep Tech and the Digital Transformation.

Don’t forget to listen to it here and to subscribe to The Insider on your favourite podcast-listening platform!


Making Sure Open Science Stays Open: 10 Years of Advocating Open Science Policy

This article by Jean-Claude Burgelman, who worked for the EC for many years and was at the onset of the open science movement, from inside the EC, is more of a manifesto and roadmap for how to continue the implementation of Open Science now that the concept became known and an integral part of policy and funding. Here is the first paragraph to provide some further context:

“In the spring of 2011, I gave my first speech on open science at an internal European Commission meeting consisting of a rather small group of interested scientists from the Joint Research Centre (JCR). We were confident that science was facing the same deep changes—from the analogue to the digital—that were occurring in the economic sector and society at large. We therefore called it Science 2.0, to indicate that we expected the change to be of a similar order of magnitude to that of Web 2.0.”

Read the full article in the Frontiers Policy Labs website.


How to make (radical) innovation agencies work

Making innovation agencies work is not easy. In Portugal, we have a good example of what not to do, dividing political responsibilities over the agency across (often competing) ministries and dispersing competencies without increasing appropriate HR capacity. Nevertheless, Portugal does not have a version of DARPA, the 1958 creation of US President Dwight Eisenhower in response to the shock that North-Americans got when the USSR launched Sputnik. We could not have. Not because we are a small country, but because for it to work, we would need 2 things: an adequate public budget for research and innovation and the political capacity to make choices (something that seems to exist only if you, the laymen, don’t realize the choice is being made until it is too late) and develop a proper vision for R&I in the country.

The Economist published an article this week that is focused on how to make the new UK innovation agency work: ARIA – the Advanced Research and Invention Agency. The publication’s rationale is simple and logic and we think it is worth reflecting upon it. Check this excerpt of the article:

“America’s leaders did not want to be beaten again. In 1958 President Dwight Eisenhower approved the creation of a new institution—the Advanced Research Projects Agency (arpa). Its task would be to scan the technological horizon and “invent the future”. Six decades later arpa’s modern incarnation, DARPA (the d stands for defence) has proved itself so useful—with decisive roles in creating everything from the internet to MRNA covid-19 vaccines—that many medium-sized countries want their own versions.

One of those countries is Britain, which this month announced that its new body—the Advanced Research and Invention Agency (aria)—would be led by Peter Highnam, a computer scientist poached, promisingly, from darpa itself. aria’s stated purpose is to fund high-risk, high-reward research and it will start with a budget of $1.1bn over four years. This new addition to Britain’s research-funding landscape is welcome—two years after the country left the European Union, it is still unclear whether British scientists will continue to receive any support from the EU’s $108bn Horizon Europe programme.

Instead of trying to replicate DARPA, he should focus on bringing two elements of its model across the Atlantic. The first is independence. Government interference has hobbled other experimental research bodies, such as Germany’s version of DARPA (…).

The second element is to have a centre of gravity. DARPA’s early successes came from its relationship with America’s Department of Defence, which was trying to win a decades-long cold war. It gave a strategic direction to research and acted as a deep-pocketed customer. As a middling power, Britain does not have a defence budget that remotely matches that of Uncle Sam. Instead ARIA should focus on another area, where the country has critical mass: life sciences (…).”

Now this raises another question that we leave as food for thought: what does this mean for European innovation agencies (and for that matter excellent research agencies – ERC)? In particular what does it mean for how the relation between these agencies and small countries with clear difficulties in tapping into the competitive pot with the same arguments as bigger, better funded countries?

And read the full Economist article here.


Blockchain and the future of Digital Identity

Interesting short report based on a webinar discussion organised by the Blockchain Research Institute (Canada, Ontario), going deep in the building blocks of an architecture based on self-sovereign identity principles. Download it here.


Strategy, Policy and Action for the Biden-Harris Administration

The Blockchain Research Institute ™, in collaboration with the Washington DC based Chamber of Digital Commerce and other experts have produced a 120-page report on how the Biden-Harris administration could reimagine US technology strategy and policy—and take action to implement it.

The Biden-Harris administration arrives at a unique time in history. The pandemic exposed and exacerbated problems at all levels of government, creating a demand pull for transformation. The advent of the second era of the digital age, with a “trivergence” of artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, and blockchain technologies, is creating an innovation push.

This report recommends a series of actions that would position the United States for long-term digital leadership, co-authored by Don Tapscott, Kirsten Sandberg, and Anthony D. Williams, with a foreword by Tony Scott, former US Federal CIO under the Obama-Biden administration.


Towards a New Generation of Big Data & HPC Applications – new Webinar series

The second webinar series between BigHPC and UT Austin Portugal is almost starting and the first webinar is happening on March 10, at 15h00 (UTC), titled “Linking GitOPS towards fast innovation over BigHPC” with speaker Samuel Bernardo!

If you don’t want to miss it, make sure to click here to find out more about the series and to register!


The European Commission’s Joint Research Centre is Hiring!

The science and knowledge service of the European Commission is looking to hire in the Health in Society Unit.

The Health in Society Unit supports EU policies in public health for promoting excellence and equality of health-care in all Member States. The Unit is composed of a young and dynamic team of experts working on: health information on cancer and rare diseases, healthcare quality, and health promotion and prevention of non-communicable diseases. The position is within the Health Promotion team of the Health in Society Unit. Health promotion is about ‘the process of enabling people to increase control over, and to improve, their health’.

If you’re interested in learning more about the position and how to apply, click here!


EU Non-Comunicable Diseases Initiative – Submit your best practice

The European Commission has launched the ‘Healthier together’ – EU Non-Communicable Diseases Initiative to support EU countries in identifying and implementing effective policies and actions to reduce the burden of major non-communicable diseases and improve citizens’ health.

The European Commission is now calling for the identification of best practices that can be implemented in EU countries on prevention and management of non-communicable diseases on the five strands of the ‘Healthier together’ – EU Non-Communicable Diseases Initiative: cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases, mental health and neurological disorders, and health determinants.

The deadline for submission of proposals is 15 May 2022 (midnight CET). An evaluation process will immediately follow the deadline of submissions. Find out more here.


One Ocean Summit: new steps to strengthen EU leadership in protecting the ocean

The European Commission presented ambitious initiatives to promote a cleaner, healthier and safer ocean, as part of the EU’s contribution to the One Ocean Summit hosted in France.

Speaking at the summit, President von der Leyen announced three key initiatives for cooperation to preserve and revive the oceans: a new international coalition to protect biodiversity on high seas; a major computing project allowing researchers to digitally simulate the world’s oceans; and the EU’s research mission to restore out ocean and waters by 2030.

If you want to read more about what was discussed in the summit, click here!


Manifesto for EU COVID-19 Research – extended until 2023

The European Commission has extended the Manifesto for EU COVID-19 Research until 2023, allowing Manifesto endorsers to maintain their initiatives under the principles running. It also aims to offer the possibility for others to still endorse it and engage in concrete actions to facilitate the sharing and access to IP in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Manifesto is a policy statement providing guiding principles for beneficiaries of EU funded research grants to ensure that their results are made available in a timely and affordable manner to guarantee the highest potential in the fight against this pandemic.

If you want to learn more about it make sure you click here!


10th Anniversary of the EU Bioeconomy Strategy

In February 2012, the European Commission adopted its first Bioeconomy Strategy “Innovating for sustainable growth – A bioeconomy for Europe” to radically change the EU’s approach in production, consumption, processing, storage, recycling and disposal of biological resources.

At the same time, the Strategy aimed to:

  • ensure food and nutrition security;
  • manage our natural resources sustainably;
  • reduce the dependence on non-renewable, unsustainable resources;
  • mitigate and adapt to climate change;
  • create jobs across Europe.

These objectives remained the guiding principles for further EU bioeconomy action, such as the updated Bioeconomy Strategy in 2018, which expanded the focus areas on the regional deployment of the bioeconomy across Europe and on increasing the understanding of the ecological boundaries.

As next steps, the European Commission will adopt a progress report on the updated EU Bioeconomy Strategy from 2018, to take stock of the achievements and identify the gaps of the EU Bioeconomy actions. The report is expected to be released in Spring. 2022.

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